There are times in a Christian’s life when the lights just seem to go out and we enter a season of darkness.

When faced with calamity and nothing makes sense, the first question we ask is, “Why did God let this happen?” We feel we can bear just about anything if we only knew why. But what we need to ask is HOW. How are we going to respond?

We might as well admit it — Christians are often left in the dark. As you read this, you may be at the deathbed of a child. You may be going through financial distress. You may be enduring misrepresentation and disgrace or have a broken heart because of a broken home. The question haunts you — why?

What do you do when the lights go out?
In this message and the next, I have five propositions to consider. Here are the first three.  
#1: Those of Greatest Devotion May Know the Deepest Darkness

“Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)

Darkness is not unusual for God’s choicest saints. No matter how close we walk to God, it’s not always sweetness and light. Who ever came up with the distorted idea that if we give our lives to Jesus, all will be joy and rose petals? We’re not going to waltz through life with ever-increasing health, success, a serene old age and a glorious exit. Thousands of saints who love God are deeply perplexed. Think of these Bible saints:

Job, godly man, wrote, “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and He hath set darkness in my paths” (Job 19:8).
Habakkuk prayed, “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and Thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou wilt not save!” (Habakkuk 1:2) The heavens seemed like brass. 
John the Baptist found himself in prison. It didn’t make sense that Jesus could work miracles, even raise the dead, and yet John was in prison. He asked Jesus, “Are You the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:19).
Even Paul, the great apostle, said, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Great saints of history had the same experience. Read their biographies — many spoke of a dark night of the soul.

So if you’re in darkness, you’re in good company.
Notice that Isaiah describes the person in darkness as one who “fears Him and obeys the voice of His servant.” Darkness, therefore, does not mean we have sinned or are out the will of God.
# 2: The Faith That Is Born in the Light Often Grows in the Dark

“We should never doubt in the dark what God has shown us in the light.”

It is in darkness that we have to trust the Lord and “stay” upon Him. Think carefully: when have you grown the most? In sunny days when everything seemed perfect? Or at midnight when you cried out to God? It was in the darkness that you grew, wasn’t it?

Faith, like film, is developed in the dark. God wants us to develop a faith that goes beyond our understanding and experience.

How you act in the dark is the real test of your character. Have you noticed in a building when the lights suddenly go out, it’s the little children who begin to run and scream with fear? When the lights come back on, they behave once more.

“We walk by promises, not by explanations.” —Warren Wiersbe

What should you do when the lights suddenly go out in your life?

·  First, look to the Lord. Isaiah 50:10 says “trust in Him.” Just because things don’t make sense to you doesn’t mean they don’t make sense. And just because they don’t make sense now, doesn’t mean they won’t make sense some day. If it doesn’t make sense, nonetheless trust the Lord.

·  Not only trust, but also obey. Don’t stop praying for an unsaved spouse, even if they seem to get worse. Don’t stop giving in a financial reverse. Don’t stop witnessing, even if no one seems to respond. Don’t stop praising, even if you don’t feel like praising.

·  Lean upon the Lord. “Stay” comes from the word for “staff.” Just as a shepherd leans on his staff, lean upon the Lord. David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thouart with me.” (Psalm 23:4) It’s better to be in a dark valley, leaning on Jesus, than on a sunlit mountain without Him.

We may not understand, but relationship is really more important than reason. It may be that we do not know Why in order that we may know Who. In the dark valley, David no longer talks about the Lord (“the Lord is my shepherd”), he now talks to the Lord (“Thou are with me”).

However dark life becomes, you will find Jesus standing somewhere in the shadows.

To be continued.